Short Grammar Questions

Thank you for the swift answer! I probably should have realized it was a relative clause since I’ve been introduced to them before, I guess I got distracted when I started overthinking 「楽しくできる」… But I suppose these sorts of things are all part of the learning process!

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Ok I need more Shin Kanzen grammar help and your expertise. I’m having a hard time really understanding these grammar points and forget them swiftly, even after writing sentences and having them corrected…they all get jumbled up in my mind.

7.1 a b
先生の説明では 「ズボン」はフランス語からきた言葉だということです。
I am confused about this one since I thought では・ては was like たら but only a negative action - used for repetitive action

  1. c b
    「あたしは 暑いって

I know って is hearsay, so is this some sort of emphasis like “I said I was hot”?

Thanks in advance!

Sorry, I know that Japanese conventions are usually to put an X next to the wrong answer and a 〇 next to the correct one, but for the sake of confirmation (since I see no 〇), is the sentence above the correct version, with the X[words] on the bottom your incorrect answer?

And by the way, is it あした or あたし in the second sentence? Your sentence as it reads now says ‘I’m hot’ in a cutesy/girly/gyaru tone while using the kanji that indicates the heat of the surroundings (暑) and not the heat of a person or object (熱).


The solution for this one is in the corresponding grammar explanation of とういことだ (7課1)

Indicates reported speech. used to pass on acquired information. Slightly more formal than ~だそうだ. To indicate the source of the information. expressions such as ~では、~によると or ~によれば are used.


And △ when it’s kinda-sorta right. :slightly_smiling_face:


I totally read it wrong which is why I didn’t understand it :sweat_smile: It’s 「あした」and not 「あたし」 so I understand why 「って」is correct now. Thanks!


For this one, you can just interpret では as the て-form of だ・である with は added for emphasis. In that case, it becomes something like ‘if it’s my teacher’s explanation,…’. は makes that the context or theme of what comes next. (It’s the ‘topic particle’, see?) Without it, the sentence still works, but the context/focus is less clear. You can also take で as the ‘means’ particle, but that explanation is a little harder to accept, I feel, even though I’m fine with it personally.

What @Arzar33 quoted is very helpful, of course, but in case you were wondering how you might interpret the words themselves in order to understand why they’re used that way, I figured I would suggest a few things.

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I know it’s the second one, but what is the underlying grammatical rule?

青いの is like saying “the blue one,” which makes it a proper response to “which one?”

の can be a really generic pronoun.


To put it another way, it’s not so much a grammatical rule as it is a matter of ensuring the right parallels exist between the question and the answer. That’s an unwritten rule of a lot of natural language – some forms of linguistic symmetry/mirorring are necessary – and is also the reason why certain phrases, while completely grammatically correct, sound strange to us. For example, ‘he is running and funny’. Is that grammatically incorrect? No, I don’t think so, but we could turn ‘funny’ into ‘is funny’ if need be. Is it impossible to understand? No. But is it the most natural way to say things? No. Why? Because ‘running’ is a verb form that indicates a continuous state (you could even say that ‘is running’ is a verb form that should be considered as a unit since it’s the present continuous tense form of ‘to run’), whereas ‘funny’ is an adjective. We expect the words on either side of ‘and’ to be 1. linked logically and 2. of the same grammatical class (aka are the same part of speech). In this case, neither condition is fulfilled, so the sentence sounds wrong.

Returning to the Japanese…
The question uses「どれ」, which means it’s asking for a noun. ‘Which one is it?’ or ‘which thing is it?’ That’s the sort of question we’re looking at. Therefore, we have to answer with a noun:
「青い です。」
の is a placeholder. It can be a nominaliser (e.g. if you want to discuss the idea that you like apples, you can start a sentence with「(私が)リンゴが好き は」), but in this case, we’re looking at it standing in for something else, like a pronoun in English, as @QuackingShoe said. ‘One’ is a good translation for の here, but if you want the whole thought process, it’s
‘Which one/which car is Terence’s?’
青い車です。=’It’s the blue car’ → 青いのです=’it’s the blue one’ because we already know that we’re talking about cars.


This is a bit of a weird one, but I’m curious; is it possible to use いる instead of ある or vice versa, in situations where you would want to emphasize a specific trait? That is to say, in a similar fashion to how people will say stuff like “the river is alive” or “he’s like a robot”?

This is what I was looking for, thanks.

Given the question, I figured it wanted a noun, but it wasn’t clear that の was a placeholder. Could you point me towards resources that elaborate on the various use cases of の?

I don’t understand this. The の here seems to change the topic from the apple to 私’s liking of apples. Is that right? Seems like yet another use. Kind of like going one level up. Like from a function to its integral :sweat_smile:.

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You understood that perfectly! Congratulations. :grin: That’s exactly what just happened. That’s why it’s called a ‘nominaliser’, because normally, ‘I like apples’ is just a sentence, but with の, it becomes ‘the fact/idea that I like apples’ and acts as a noun (or more accurately a noun phrase).


I suspect this is doable as long as people know your intent. As a beginner, I would think people will think you’ve just made a mistake. Artistic license probably allows for this.

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I can see this happening in certain artistic contexts. The idea of inanimate objects having a life of their own is not unheard of in Japanese - there’s things like tsukumogami in folklore, which are essentially objects gaining a spirit and quite literally being alive, to name an example. I could see いる being used instead of ある to indicate such situations.

Of course that’s speculation on my part and I see @Jonapedia is typing up one of their signature essays - this seems like exactly the kind of thing they’d know :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:


Yes, somewhat, but…

It’s not just this. There’s literally a set of definitions for ある that applies to how it’s used for people. You can even try learning the correct kanji to use for each form if you’re so inclined. (Frankly, most people don’t bother, and almost no one writes ある with kanji anyway. I only did it to see if I could, and in order to compare Japanese and Chinese.)

It’s not so much whether or not you want to emphasise a particular aspect as how you’re trying to express another person’s existence. In short (or at least, this is the difference I remember), using ある for a person tends to express simple existence or existence in a particular state, whereas いる expresses existence and activity/life. ある answers the question ‘does said animate being exist?’, whereas いる answers the question ‘is said animate being present?’ Here are some examples (I’ll be favouring literal translations to better capture how the Japanese feels, even if some of them are a little unnatural):

  • 「昔々,ある所におじいさんとおばあさんがありました」=‘long, long ago, in a particular place, there were an old man and an old woman.’
    I think this is the first line of the Japanese classic Momotaro. The original seems to be written in kanbun, which is a Japanese form of Classical Chinese, and you’ll notice that the kanji used for ある is 有: the question here is whether or not they exist, so this is the right kanji to use.
  • 「当時彼はパリにあって絵の勉強をしていた」=‘at the time, he was in Paris and was studying painting’ and「彼女は逆境にある」=‘she is in a state of adversity’
    In the first sentence, ある is used to indicate where someone is given that his existence is already confirmed, and in the second, this meaning is extended to a figurative ‘location’: an adverse situation. In this case, I believe the correct kanji is 在, because that indicates presence in a location or situation and not just existence.
  • ある can also be used to indicate possession, even in the case of people, though I guess you could say here that it’s more the idea that one ‘has’ a certain type of person in one’s life. For example, 「彼女には夫がある」=‘she has a husband’. I think the kanji to use in this case is 有. (Think of the word 所有=‘the act of possessing/owning’.) This usage, and some of the others I listed earlier, can be swapped for いる. Again, I think the essence of it is that ある emphasises existence (or the lack thereof), whereas いる provides a sense of activity/life.
  • In an NHK news report about a train accident, I believe the phrase used to state that there were no casualties was something like 「被害者はありませんでした。」Why not いませんでした? I think it’s because that would have made it feel as though the victims were already injured and had just chosen not to turn up on the train, just like one can choose to skip a class at school.

Quick note: I based a lot of these examples off stuff I have in my electronic copy of 大辞林, so I just want to give them credit.

As for a case in which you can use いる even though you might expect ある: I believe that it’s very common to use いる for things that can move themselves like robots and police cars. Apparently it’s far more common to say パトカーがいる than パトカーがある. You’d only use ある for… a parked, completely silent car that is unlikely to depart any time soon, if I’m not wrong.

In conclusion, as far as I know, it’s not really so much of ‘choosing’ which verb to use as it is knowing when you have the choice, and to then use each one appropriately.

Thanks for the vote of confidence. I hope this explanation will make things clear. Hahaha.


Clear to me, and definitely an interesting read as always :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:

Quick question about something I thought I’d heard/read a certain way but figured I’d just misremembered after finally getting the animate/inanimate division through my thick skull - but I’m now doubting whether I’d maybe remembered it right after all.

Say you’re wondering if someone has a girlfriend, for instance. Would 彼女がありますか be correct/natural, given that you’re not really asking if she’s here, but rather if she exists at all?

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I certainly think so, because 妻子のある身 (roughly ‘a person’s status as having a wife and children’, 身 being literally ‘body’ or ‘person’ as a word referring to the body – as in ‘nothing suspicious was found on his person’ – here, I think) is a dictionary example. (PS: I just added that nuance of ‘possession of people’ – sort of – right after publishing the post, because I realised I had forgotten to mention it.) However, because the important bit of the question is her existence, which is expressed by ある, I think it would be more natural to say 「彼女 ありますか。」The topic is ‘girlfriend’, but the important part is ‘あるか、ないか’. If you said「彼女」, you’d be specifying that the person doing the existing is the girlfriend, and not someone else, so 彼女 becomes indissociable from the action of which she is the subject. That would be a bit strange because you don’t even know if she exists. That aside, は is the more common particle with negations and questions, generally speaking.


Alright, makes sense!

I swear, every time I think I’ve got は vs が down it turns out I don’t :joy:


Which verb to use here? I’d go with 作る but I don’t know why する would be wrong since 料理 is a suru verb…